Marriage is often associated with love and happiness, but is your marriage harming your heart? According to one study, it just might be.
A happy marriage can provide several benefits, but a stressful marriage may actually be killing you. According to some preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2022, a stressful marriage is associated with a poorer outcome after a heart attack for those under 55 years of age.
“Our findings support that stress experienced in one’s everyday life, such as marital stress, may impact young adults’ recovery after a heart attack,” said Cenjing Zhu, the study’s lead author. Zhu is a Ph.D. candidate at the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut.
“Additional stressors beyond marital stress, such as financial strain or work stress, may also play a role in young adults’ recovery, and the interaction between these factors require further research,” Zhu added.
Researchers examined 1,593 young adults ages 18 to 55 who had been treated for a heart attack. They were simultaneously enrolled in the “VIRGO” study (Variation in Recovery: Role of Gender on Outcomes of Young AMI Patients). Moreover, all study subjects were either married or in a committed relationship when they had their heart attack. Over 66 percent of subjects were women.
They filled out a questionnaire a month after their attack and were ranked according to three marital stress levels: absent/mild, moderate, and severe. Researchers then studied the participants for one year after their heart attack
According to Zhu and the co-authors, those with severe stress levels scored 1.6 points lower in physical health and 2.6 points lower in mental health on a 12-item scale when compared to those with absent/mild stress levels.
“Participants reporting severe stress levels [scored] almost 5 points lower in overall quality of life, and 8 points lower in quality of life when measured by a scale specifically designed for cardiac patients,” said the researchers in a press release.
In addition, marital stress was also associated with chest pains and hospital readmission within a year of their heart attack. Moreover, participants with severe stress were almost 50 percent more likely to be readmitted to the hospital for any reason than those with no marital stress.
Marriage Stress and Heart Health
Several studies associate chronic stress with a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. While more research is necessary to find a direct link, stress often leads to unhealthy coping habits (e.g.: smoking, eating fast food, binge drinking) that increase the risk for heart conditions.
According to Zhu, medical professionals “should consider screening patients for everyday stress during follow-up appointments to help better identify people at high risk for low physical/mental recovery or additional hospitalization.”
In addition to avoiding stressful situations and managing your stress effectively, something else that may help your heart is taking supplements like L-arginine Plus. Its ingredients promote circulation, blood pressure, cholesterol, and overall heart health. Give your health the support it deserves by minimizing the stress in your relationships and by taking L-arginine Plus.